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Office of the Registrar
1525 Greenspring Valley Road
Stevenson, MD 21153
Phone: 443-334-2206
Fax: 443-334-2623
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.




If you're looking for information about any of the commencement ceremonies that happen on campus, you've come to the right place. Expand the sections below to learn more about specific event details, dates, and guides for student and guest attendees. Be sure to check back for updated information as new event dates are relased and promoted.

  • Commencement for Students

    Cap and Gown

    How to Wear a Master Cap and Gown

    How to Wear a Bachelor Cap and Gown

    Direct all questions related to your cap and gown purchase to the Campus Store at 443-352-4062.

    Be sure to bring all four pieces with you: cap, black tassel, gown and hood! (Master’s degree candidates will receive hoods on stage during the ceremony.)

    Cap – Wear the cap flat on your head – not perched on the back. Cap decorations are permitted; however, they should not create a distraction from the ceremony. Keep the following in mind:

    • All decorations must lay flat on the cap. Nothing may dangle or hang down from the cap other than the tassel and nothing may extend vertically.
    • Use common sense. Offensive language, photos, graphic images, etc., will not be permitted.
    • The University will require that you remove any embellishment deemed inappropriate by authorized University officials before you are permitted to participate in the ceremony.

    Tassel – Remember to bring the black tassel with you! For bachelor’s degree candidates, the black tassel hangs to your right, and you will move it to your left when instructed during the ceremony. 

    Gown – Take your gown out of the package and hang it before commencement day! If necessary, iron it on a low setting. Wear appropriate clothing under the gown. Carefully consider your choice of shoes as you will be walking up and down steps in addition to going across the stage. Comfortable dress shoes are recommended (no flip-flops or sneakers).

    Hood – Assistance will be provided prior to the ceremony, just remember to bring it with you! (Master’s degree candidates will receive hoods on stage during the ceremony).

    Cords, Stoles and Pins – The decision has been made to allow students to wear cords or stoles representing any University-sponsored organization. Please be aware any outside organizations that have not been recognized by the University cannot be represented by a cord or stole. As always, we recognize that graduation is a time of celebration, but it is also a formal ceremony representing the academic achievements of all students, and graduates’ attire should also reflect the solemnity of the occasion. Cords/Stoles are not provided for academic honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude). Academic honors are recognized in the program and announced as you walk across the stage.

    Arrival & Procession

    Meet for the procession line-up on the Greenspring Campus at least 45 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. Please leave personal belongings with your guests or in your vehicle. You will pick up your name card and line up in number order. Keep your card with you until you hand it to the person reading names on stage!

    Student marshals will lead the procession in two lines (walking together). Trust the marshals when they show you where to sit, and when to stand to move toward the stage.

    When you enter the gymnasium and move into the row of chairs, remain standing until someone on stage instructs everyone to be seated. Men: remove your cap during the National Anthem and Moment of Reflection. Women: continue wearing your cap.

    The procession and ceremony will start on time, even if you are not here yet, so plan to arrive early! If for any reason you arrive late and the line-up area is empty, go to the entrance of the gym and someone will help you get seated. Listen to the marshals when they tell you where to sit and when to move toward the stage.

    The Ceremony

    Once seated there will be a welcome from the Chair of the Board of Trustees, opening remarks from the University President, award presentations and a keynote speaker before the “Presentation of Candidates for Degrees”. The ceremony from start time to finish is approximately two hours.

    Watch your marshals to know when to stand and move toward the stage. Take your name card with you to the stage! Exit to the outside aisle (left side will not return to the same seat you had before walking across the stage). When it is your turn to walk, hand your name card to the dean of your school. Wait until your name is announced. Once the dean announces your name – enjoy your moment – walk across the stage, shake the president’s hand and receive your diploma.* No selfies on stage. Keep moving! There will be professional photographers taking pictures as you go across stage and after you exit the stage; keep moving as instructed. When you return to the row of seats – sit down.

    Contact information for the photographers: 800-261-2576.

    Graduates are encouraged to review and listen to the Alma Mater that you will sing together at the end of the ceremony. Recording by Emma Cathy Smith ‘20

    Recessional & Reception

    After the Alma Mater, you will leave the gym. The stage party exits the gym first, followed by the faculty/staff. Watch your student marshals who will let you know when it is time for your row to exit.

    It is very important that you keep moving all the way out the doors, outside and up the stairs! Do not stop at the top of the stairs. Keep moving toward the grassy area or inside the building! There are thousands of people in the gym waiting to exit after you; if you stop moving they will be stuck in the gym.

    Prior to Commencement day, arrange to meet guests upstairs - either inside at the reception or outside (we are hoping for beautiful weather). Cell phone service is not reliable in the gym on the Greenspring campus so be sure to make a plan prior to Commencement day.

    Guest and Ticket Information

    All guests must have a ticket to enter the Manuszak Center, including children of any age and guests in wheelchairs.

    Doors to the gym will open one hour before the start of the ceremony. Seating areas are not assigned and are occupied on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests are encouraged to arrive early. When the procession begins, no one will be allowed to enter the Manuszak Center until the procession is complete; therefore, guests should be seated at least fifteen minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. Guests arriving late may enter the gymnasium after the procession is complete.

    If you have a guest who is using a wheelchair, walker, or has special needs, please email Lisa C. Labrecque.

    An email will be sent to Commencement participants approximately two months prior to the ceremony with the quantity of guest tickets available and additional instructions. Participants will be given as many guest tickets as possible based on the number of participants and the seating capacity of the gym. Extra tickets are not available.

    Overflow seating is available in the Inscape Theatre where the ceremony will be streaming live on the big screen. Theatre seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets are not required for overflow seating. Unaccompanied children are not permitted in the theatre.

    The Commencement ceremony will be streaming live online! The link will be available on the SU website: Friends and family may watch the ceremony from anywhere they have internet access.

    Please encourage your guests to read the Commencement for Guests information on the website.

    A few more things you need to know

    *Walking across a stage and receiving an empty diploma cover does not mean that you graduated. Your degree is not awarded until all grades are received and all requirements are complete. You may view your degree information in WebXpress under the “Academic Profile” section, click on “My Profile” and scroll to the bottom of the page. Your degree information will appear in this section.

    You will receive an email when your official academic transcript is updated with your degree information. Transcripts may be requested by using National Student Clearinghouse, if needed.

    Academic honors for bachelor’s degrees will be listed on your diploma and official academic transcript based on your final cumulative GPA. This may differ from the academic honors announced during the Commencement ceremony, which is based on your cumulative GPA prior to the final semester.

    Cum Laude 3.50 – 3.69

    Magna Cum Laude 3.70 – 3.89

    Summa Cum Laude 3.90 – 4.00

    Diplomas are sent via standard U.S. mail approximately one month after graduation. Diplomas and transcripts may be held if there is an outstanding balance with Student Accounts. If you have questions, contact the Office of Student Accounts, 443-334-3500.

    Remember you can always access Career Services, even after you graduate, and you can stay connected with SU through Alumni Relations.

  • Commencement for Guests

    For the safety and enjoyment of all graduates and guests, please review the following guidelines and answers to frequently asked questions.

    • Participating graduates will receive as many tickets as possible based on the number of participants and capacity of the location. Encourage additional friends and family to watch via the live broadcast on the SU website.
    • On Commencement day, please follow the directions of SU security and staff.
    • Be prepared to show your tickets to enter the Manuszak Center.
    • ALL guests, including children of any age, will need a ticket to enter.
    • Strollers are not permitted in the gym unless special accommodations have been requested.
    • Doors to the gym will open one hour before the start of the ceremony. Seating areas are not assigned and are occupied on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests are encouraged to arrive early.
    • When the procession begins, no one will be allowed to enter the Manuszak Center until the procession is complete; therefore, guests should be seated at least fifteen minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. Guests arriving late may enter the gymnasium after the procession is complete.
    • Please move to the center of your row when you are seated to allow room for other guests.
    • Please refrain from placing your feet or personal belongings on other seats.
    • We are rejoicing with you in your graduate’s academic success!  Applause and cheers are encouraged; however, should not interfere with hearing the name of each graduate being announced as they walk across the stage. 
    • Do not approach the stage for photos.  Professional photographers will be taking photos near the stage.  Guests may take personal photos/video while remaining in their seats so that the view of the stage is not obstructed and the aisles remain clear for our graduates.  Information about professional photos is available on their website or by calling 800-261-2576.
    • At the end of the ceremony please remain in the gymnasium until ALL of the graduates have exited. The stage party and faculty will leave the gym first, followed by the graduates. Guests will exit the gym last. 
    • Be aware that cell phone reception on the Greenspring campus is not reliable.  Prior to arriving on campus, make arrangements where you will meet your graduate at the end of the ceremony.  Suggested locations are upstairs either inside or outside.
    • When you exit the Manuszak Center do not stop just outside the gym or building doors.  Keep moving outside and up the stairs to your right. An elevator is available in the Manuszak Center just outside the gym exit if needed.
    • Since balloon bouquets can obstruct the view of the stage and cause distraction, they should remain in a vehicle until the conclusion of the ceremony.
    • Commencement ceremonies are approximately two hours.

    Thank you for your cooperation. It helps make this a special day for our graduates!


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